eff you, january!

I’m NOT a January person.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I usually hate January but this January was feeling easier. Well, I was WRONG. I hate this month. Still and always. And someday I will be wealthy and/or flexible enough to go away somewhere lovely for the entire month of January (and February and March?) and swim my troubles away in a wave pool.

For now, I live in a big, beautiful, insane city that challenges me every day, and there is nothing redeeming about living here in January. The bitter cold aside (we awoke to 6 degrees this morning – near torturous when one must walk everywhere one needs to go!), the constant darkness, the lack of sunshine, the fact that there are a completely unnecessary 31 full days up in this bitch all pushes me to my limit.

I mean, who put 31 days in January!? WHY.

I really did think I was getting by just fine. I figured I’d hunker down, snuggle in with my little family and hibernate until Spring. And I’ve tried to do that, despite a very busy schedule. But my January demons haven’t been tricked by my optimism. They’ve just been patient, waiting for me to let my guard fully down.

And now, for the past – oh – five days, I’ve been a total lunatic. I’ve been rageful, hateful, spiteful, quick to judge, quick to roll my eyes, irritated by every single anything that crosses my path, hopeless, unmotivated, disinterested and generally pissed. I hate everyone. Sorry, it’s not personal.

I hide it well, which probably makes it worse for my innards, but no one should have to deal with my ire. It’s not attractive or fair. I don’t feel this way for prolonged periods of time, just for a few miserable hours in a row. And then the fog starts to clear and I check the closets to make sure I haven’t hidden any bodies and go about my day. But holy hell is it exhausting.

What’s nice is that I’ve grown up chronologically and emotionally in the last several years and I’ve learned to see these depressing chunks of time as what they are – some kind of chemical reaction in my brain and body. They’re not evidence of my being a horrible person who is destined to fail at everything in life and probably end up in prison for accidentally (“accidentally”) committing homicide.

It could be the lack of sunlight and necessary nutrients, or the cold weather, or my hormones during this particular week, or the fact that I haven’t been running lately – I know all those things can play a part. So I’ll take a walk around a few city blocks, grab a cup of coffee, have a piece of chocolate, have a piece of fruit, or read a fun blog or website to shake myself out of it. That tends to work. But it doesn’t make the actual process any more fun. Feeling this way is like a migraine. It comes on, stays for a while, and goes away a little while later. But instead of a blinding, piercing headache, it’s venom toward All That Is.

Look, I’m not proud of it, I’m just sharing.

Today, after hiding all scissors in the office from myself, I realized I should probably just take a walk and get a damn cookie and a cappuccino. So I did. And it worked. The fresh air, the caffeine, the sugar – it all helped. I felt a dozen times better. And I’ll probably try to do a little yoga tonight to clear out more cobwebs.

Right now I’m going to go do an improv show (also very therapeutic) and then head home to my boyf and my cats, all of whom could not make me any happier if they tried.

how to quit your job – 5 steps

If you want to quit your job, you are like a staggering number of people in America today. CBS News recently reported that only 45% of US workers find their jobs satisfying. And that’s lowest rate ever recorded in the 22 years they’ve been studying the issue.

If you aren’t happy at your job, why not take the plunge? Yes, there are risks. Yes, it can be scary. But quitting your job to pursue something that makes you happier and more fulfilled is never riskier and scarier than the alternative: remaining stuck a mindless cycle of dreading every day and complaining over a tub of ice cream or a bottle of wine every night.

I quit my job and lived to tell the tale. I worked as a grouchy office assistant for many boring years and it made me want to commit mass murder. I was the ugliest version of myself when I worked at that job. I was dismissive, short-tempered, difficult and I loved rolling my eyes behind people’s backs. (Okay, I still do that.)

Now, 7 months after quitting, I’m happier and more hopeful than I’ve been in years. I might even be a little smarter too. I’m not an expert, I’m just someone who’s been through it and come out thriving on the other side.

The list I’m about to share might seem simple. That’s on purpose. No matter what we may have been led to believe by maybe our parents, our culture, or our bank accounts, quitting your job is simple.

Scary? Risky? Non-traditional? Maybe.

Rocket science? Absolutely not.

Here’s how I did it:

1. Decide WHY. I knew I felt unhappy at my job, but I had to determine exactly why, or I wouldn’t know what I was aiming to fix.

Start by asking yourself why you don’t like the work you do. Is it the people? The atmosphere? The work itself? Is it you? Are you making the situation worse than it is?

Be honest and specific. Make sure you truly know why you want to quit.

2. Decide WHAT. What next? New office? Home office? New career entirely? New city? Decide what you want out of your new lifestyle. If you already know what you want to do – great! You’re well on your way.

For some people, deciding what’s next is the hardest part. Just remember, it doesn’t have to happen right away. Spend some time paying attention to details about yourself that you might not always consider. Like, do you like walking to work? Do you mind commuting? Do you want to work with people, or by yourself? Ask friends and family to tell you where they think your strengths lie. There’s information in those details. Take the time to figure it out.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do next when I set out to quit. I knew I wanted to work for myself, have more control over my own schedule, feel creative, productive and active. It took me about a year to mold that into a career direction. Once I quit my job, I ended up opening an online bakery, becoming a freelance writer and focusing more on my comedy career. And I’m still growing and changing all the time.

3. Decide WHEN. Give yourself a goal date. This helped me tremendously. When I was 27 years old I promised myself that I would quit my desk job by the time I turned 29. When that date rolled around a year and a half later, I briefly considered NOT quitting yet – maybe I could save more money, maybe it wasn’t the right time?

Ultimately, though, I knew I owed it to myself meet the deadline I’d set. When I really thought about it, a new reality was already within reach…so why not go for it? It was the right move. It got me out of a job that I could have stayed in my whole life.

What will it take to get to the next step? Classes? Networking with a new group of people? Delving deeper into a hobby to discover how you might be paid to do what you love? Determine what smaller steps you’ll need to take between now and then. Then set a deadline and commit to it.

4. Save money. From the moment you decide you want to quit your job – in fact, even if it’s just an inkling in the back of your mind – start saving money. Check out my article “10 ways to save for a desk job escape,” which I wrote a few weeks before I quit. Cut corners when you can and trust that you are building an essential nest egg to help fuel your journey outta the doldrums.

My savings was account one of the best things I did for myself. I was able to pull in new income shortly after my desk job ended, but I needed that savings to float me through a few tough months later on and to make ends meet along the way. I was really amazed at how far it took me.

5. Commit to yourself. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. If you want to quit your job, only your commitment to doing so will make it possible. People who decide to change their lives actively change them, they don’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Lay the traps, write the plans, shake off the fear, bide your time – yes. But after that time is up, take action. There will definitely be days when it feels like a big mistake, the wrong decision, the path of most resistance. On those days, return to the WHY and the WHAT to strengthen your resolve.

You’ll never know what can be if you don’t follow your bliss. Go for it.

what not to wear + j brand houlihan cargo pants

(Hillary Duff via Denimology.com)

I was just thinking, “I don’t know enough about fashion to be writing a post about fashion!” And then I realized, pffft, that’s ridiculous.

Fashion and style are not just what’s hot on the runway, or what Hollywood is wearing. Style is what looks good on YOU. It’s the timeless, classic, or even trendy stuff that you put on every time you want to look fabulous. It’s the outfit you know flatters your figure, the pieces you know you can mix and match to look your best.

What Not To Wear” is the addictive TBS makeover show where style experts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly kidnap someone who needs a fashion overhaul and give her just that. The show empowers women to choose clothes that are right for them, and London and Kelly are adamant that what’s “in” right now isn’t necessarily what works best for every body type or every personality. “I feel very strongly that style is about the individual, not the industry,” Stacy London says (via SirensMag.com).

I love this philosophy. And I embrace it. Since I used to have a serious weight problem (I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties), I came late to the fashionable clothes game. When I was a heavy teenager and young adult, the last thing on Earth I wanted to do was attempt to look stylish and sexy. I realize now that looking good can happen at any size, but at the time, I wanted to crawl into a hole in the wall and never think about clothes, fashion or changing out of my pajamas.

Since I’m still a curvy girl today – I have never in my life owned anything smaller than a size 6 – I approach getting dressed with a mindset like Stacy and Clinton’s in mind: I wear what looks good on me. What not to wear? Everything else.

That’s why I just wrote a post on Gather about these new J Brand Houlihan Cargo Pants. Have you heard about these? Apparently they’re the hot new fashion trend, made popular first in Hollywood, of course.

They’re $230 a pair (although I’m sure cheaper knockoffs will be hitting shelves soon) and they’ve been seen on everyone from Rihanna to Gwen Stefani to Hillary Duff to one of the Kardashian girls (who can ever remember which one).

(Rihanna via Denimology.com)

I feel badly saying so, but I think we might be kidding ourselves with this trend, ladies. I literally laughed out loud when I saw some of the photos of celebs wearing these awful pants. They look terrible! As I said on Gather, they don’t seem to flatter anyone’s figure, except for the torso-less model on the J Brand website (and even she has to stand funny to make them look good).

The moral of the story is – Don’t be afraid to stick to the stuff that looks good on your body. Just because a new style is trending, doesn’t mean it should be. So stay above the fray.

And if you find someone who looks good in these terrible cargo pants, send them my way, will you? Until then, I’m going to remain convinced that Houlihan Cargo Pants are the fashion Gods’ latest well-played joke.



oil of olay – I did it!

I’m going to be 30 in less than six months.

I bought my first jar of fancy anti-aging night cream yesterday. This was on purpose. It’s time.

I tend toward melodrama.

So, I heard 7-in-1 Oil of Olay Total Effects (so many names!) is supposed to be the best of the drugstore variety.

It was $18 on sale at Target. I went there for it specifically (plus Kev and I each got a new bulletin board!), so it was a nice treat that it was on sale.

The face wash was also on sale for $6.70 and I grabbed it too. Who am I!?

I like both the products so far. The face wash feels really soft and gentle, and my skin feels more moist after I use it, even before I put lotion on. I love the way the night cream feels. It’s a little sticky at first, but then it starts to soften. And my skin felt great when I woke up this morning.

My only complaint is that both products are way too fragranced for me. I got some on my lip last night and I felt like I was tasting perfume all night long! Blech!

For $18, I’m glad I have it. Here I come, 30.

new blog theme!

AHHH!!

I just changed the “theme” (Mom, that means the way the page looks) of my blog! I know it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I’ve had that old theme, the darker one with the blue background and small print, for a LONG time. Since I started follow my bliss a year and a half ago.

I’m nervous to alter it – so funny. So that means I have to do it, right? Follow the fear!

I told you a few days ago that some changes will hopefully becoming to this blog soon. To be completely honest, I’m still formulating exactly what those changes will be, what I want to write about, what kind space I want to create here for us to share.

So this new theme isn’t permanent, but let’s see how it feels for a while, until the next big change happens. And bear with me while I work out some kinks…like that giant Fanny & Jane logo over there on the right. I’ll fix that soon. FIXED!

Pink. I like pink. This will be fun.

i’m afraid of the dark

Kevin spent the night at his parents’ house last night. He went up to Rockland in the late afternoon on Sunday for Mother’s Day dinner and then stayed over night to attend his brand new nephew’s Bris this morning! Kevin’s sister Lisa gave birth to beautiful Baby Kyle early last week!

I didn’t go along for the big event because I wasn’t feeling 100% when I got home from Long Island on Saturday night, and woke up Sunday morning still under the weather. So I figured I should keep myself away from the newborn in the family.

I’m sad I didn’t get to go. But since Kevin and I both work from home right now, it’s rare that I get to have several hours in our house by myself and I’m always grateful when the opportunity presents itself.

On the flipside, I’m afraid of the dark.

It’s true. It’s pathetic and true. In fact, I’ve been afraid of the dark since I was a kid. I always slept with a nightlight when I was little, I could freak myself out with the best of them, and I even achieved my one and only trip to the emergency room for stitches when I was 10 years old because of my fear of the dark. (I was hurrying to get back into the house after running out to the garage to get something from the car. It was dark, I was panicked, I knew I’d heard a wolf growling at me, I was sure I was moments from death and in my frenzy I caught my hand on a piece of broken glass. Better that than being eaten alive by the Darkness Monster.)

So when the boyfriend, who is obviously a serial killer deterrent when he’s here, goes out of town, I go on high alert. I check inside all the closets and behind all the doors. I even check inside the cabinets and the fridge, just in case some ingenious murderer has figured out how to stash himself among our leftovers. You can never be too careful. I watch enough crazy killer shows to know that.

And, yes, that’s obviously a big part of the problem. I watch a lot of crazy killer shows. But I never watched that stuff when I was little and I’ve had this phobia since long before I was addicted to Forensic Files. So I’m going to propose that watching those shows doesn’t make me more afraid. It makes me more prepared.

So I slept on the couch for much of last night – with the TV and three lights on. Because I have a problem.

I’m gonna go check the bedroom closet now. It might be daytime, but murderers are unpredictable.

friday

Look who has been secretly eating the leaves of these tulips I just bought. I discovered her this morning.

I have been adoring my kitties lately – what else is new – and also my boyfriend, who is my best friend. Awwww, cheesy and sweet, etc.  Spring is here, the light pours into our living room in the morning, we both work from home and we make breakfast together and we have our morning rituals with our cats and life is good.

What else? I will turn 30 six months from today. Yikes! Please be prepared to roll your eyes at the frequency with which I might mention that I’m about (“about”) to turn 30 over the next few months. I am probably going to be one of those people. I guess I thought I’d never turn 30, that it wouldn’t happen to me. I know, I know, it’s not a big deal, it’ll be great, blah blah blah. Just let me have my mini drama over it.

I’m with Harvard Sailing Team on Long Island right now. The two members of our team who are living in LA right now are back in New York for the weekend. We did two shows today, had a couple rehearsals, and now we’re out in the burbs tonight and tomorrow. We’re shooting a video and working on some other scripts and projects that are in the works.

Long day. I’m beat, but happy and loving spending time with my friends.

exhaustion

You guys, I’m exhausted. Since Kevin and I got back from Chicago last week we have both been going non-stop.

It dawned on me the other day – this first year of having quit my job is going fabulously so far, I could not have imagined it would work out the way it has – but once it’s over, I think I will look back on it as a hard year too. Sometimes, it’s hard.

There’s a certain sense of pressure to make it all work, to succeed, to accomplish this thing I set out to do. Of course, I’m already doing it, so there’s no sense dwelling in places that aren’t happening now, but we all know that’s easier said than done.

I am so lucky to have so much support and unconditional faith from my mom, my stepdad, my boyfriend, my friends, my cousins, my aunt and uncle, even my therapist. I am a lucky young lady. And I would not be able to do this all without their undying encouragement.

I don’t feel pressure from them to succeed, interestingly. The pressure is from the inside out. I know this life – one I’ve built for my own fulfillment – is possible. So I try to prove it to myself daily.

Even though the next month, with all of its unknowns, always lurks around the corner, I’ve got to remember to check in with where I am right now. I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far, so there’s no reason to assume that won’t keep happening.

I’ve been working long hours and I’m tired. I go non-stop most days. I lay on the couch at night for maybe 30 minutes, if that, before I pick up the next task or project that I work on until early in the morning. These aren’t complaints, just observations. Nobody else has created this but me, so it must be how I work best. Better to turn off the judgment.

This tired is a good kind of tired, though. Tired to the bone from having worked hard for what I want.

five months later – where I am now

(Photo by the very talented Eric Michael Pearson. And yes, I wore that outfit on CBS too. I guess I need another nice outfit…)

Harvard Sailing Team was in the Cosmopolitan Magazine blog tonight! These videos just won’t stop. It’s nice. Definitely nice.

Here’s an article I wrote on Gather about the hot press HST’s gotten in the last two days alone.

For my part, I’m having fun with this ride, for sure. I’m also in the midst of learning how to juggle all the stuff that’s popped up lately! Between the bakery, writing for Gather, writing for The Examiner, Harvard Sailing Team, The Baldwins AND Jen+Steve, my life is busy right now! It’s lovely of course, because it’s a wonderful kind of busy filled with all the things I like to do in my life (!!). But you still have to learn to make time for it all. Until yesterday, I hadn’t exercised in a week. I’m still practicing how to strike the balance.

On Thursday of next week, I’m headed to Chicago for the Chicago Improv Festival with Jen+Steve. We were featured in Time Out Chicago yesterday. Pffft. Very nice. Thanks, Chicago! (The other team we’re going with, Swords, was featured in the Chicago Tribune!)

(Photo by Eric Michael Pearson.)

It’s fun to learn to adjust to this new busy lifestyle. I remember the months of January and February, which were dark, cold, boring months when I was so un-busy that I did a 30-Day Yoga Challenge! Ha.

Tomorrow night is an HST show – looking forward to it! We have some great stuff lined up. I mentioned on here a couple months ago that I was taking a 3-month hiatus from the team. Well, hiatus taken, and I’m “coming back” a bit earlier than expected.

Other news? Faryn wrote a great post about Fanny & Jane at the Greenpoint Food Market. If you live in NYC and you haven’t been to the GFM, you should come. You guys! It’s totally cute and great. They’ve got live music. It’s indoors, which is not quite as fabulous as being outdoors in the warmer months, but it’s not that big of a place so you can do the whole thing in less than an hour, and the atmosphere is so fun and lively, you barely miss being outside. So many fabulous, up and coming Brooklyn food vendors present their wares at this market, and most offer free samples.

Last, but certainly not least in this update, I took a yoga class today for the first time in a very long time. It was bliss. And I also hung out with little Otto Grimwood today, who always reminds me what being in the moment looks like.

and now it’s quiet

You guys. I’m tired and I need a haircut. Otherwise, all is well and I’m looking forward to falling into my bed tonight, knowing that my life today looks more like I’ve always wanted it to look than it did 7 months ago when I was still working at my boring desk job.

The world has been racing and whirring around me and past me for the last ten days. More has happened in this short amount of time than occured in my life in the entire months of January and February combined. Hmm, that might be an exaggeration, but that’s definitely how I feel. I’m not sure if it’s slowing down quite yet – plenty of stuff looms including my kitchen is a mess and I’m desperate to exercise. But tonight, I will sleep well.

And tomorrow is a new, beautiful day.